Couples turning to crowdfunding to start families - CBS46 News


Couples turning to crowdfunding to start families

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NaKia Trammel and her husband Eric turned to website Pure Charity in order to raise funds to adopt. (FOX5) NaKia Trammel and her husband Eric turned to website Pure Charity in order to raise funds to adopt. (FOX5)

You've probably heard of crowdfunding by now. Websites such as Kickstarter give people with big dreams a shot at making them reality with donations from friends, family and strangers.

In fact, the Oscar-winning documentary Inocente, about a homeless teen, was produced with proceeds obtained by way of such a website.

Many crowdfunding efforts involve people seeking to start businesses up, publish a novel or even record music, but there's a surprising new niche. People are turning to the internet for help with starting a family.

One in every eight couples is diagnosed with infertility. For many, trying to start a family can be agonizing.

"Eight years of trying to have children, having lost five pregnancies, most recently we lost our daughter last year," said new adoptive parent NaKia Trammel.

"It was very hard. You want to cry for her, but at the same time you need to remain strong and take care of her [while] going through treatment after treatment," said David Rapp, who struggled to have a child with his wife Stacy.

Watching Stacy Rapp struggle through fertility treatments before conceiving son Hudson was heartbreaking for David Rapp.

"We had pretty much always known that we had needed to do in vitro fertilization because my husband has a condition known as cystic fibrosis," Stacy Rapp said.

The couple learned how to deal with cystic fibrosis over the years. However, they were not prepared to learn there were other complications that might have been preventing them from becoming parents.

"We had a very short period of time to get everything done. It was a now-or-never situation," Stacy Rapp said.

Time is critical in the world of reproductive medicine, according to Dr. Said Daneshmand with the Fertility Center of Las Vegas. So saving for the expense often isn't an option.

"From testing to treatment, it's a short interval because the sooner we start treatment, the better the chance of pregnancy. As patients get older, the number of eggs that are fertile decline," Daneshmand said.

Couple often have to make decisions quickly and come up with a great deal of cash.

"The cost can be anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 for in vitro fertilization if insurance doesn't cover anything," Daneshmand said.

The same goes for adoption. While the timelines may be different, the costs are comparable, even at a not-for-profit agency.

"At Catholic Charities, we are completely self-funded, so we don't receive any state, federal or local money. Our program is completely funded through our adoptive families and through donations," said Meaghan Haley with Catholic Charities. "Sometimes adoptive families are surprised that it costs to adopt, but it's just so we can run our program."

The hurdles have some couples thinking outside the box, using crowdfunding websites, social media and hoping for the best. The Rapps went with GoFundMe, raising more than $9,000 to defray the estimated $35,000 they're paying out of pocket.

"You have to get creative in how to raise that money. We had some family come through with large donations, and I had a nephew give $5, and that meant as much to me as some of the larger donations," Stacy Rapp said.

As helpful as those contributions were, Stacy Rapp warns that using websites to fund a family can come at a cost. For instance, she received cruel messages concerning her choice to seek fertility treatments.

"Be prepared for those people who think that because you're in a public situation it gives them the right to say things to you because it's a website and they don't speak directly to you. They can hide behind an email address," she said.

NaKia Trammel and her husband Eric also put their hopes and history on a website, choosing Pure Charity, a site which allows donors to send funds directly to Catholic Charities to go toward adoption fees.

"We donate to charity around Christmastime. We donate around Thanksgiving - what better way to give than help somebody create a family?" NaKia Trammel said.

While NaKia Trammel and her husband didn't get all the funding they would have liked, they got their wish. When Landry Parker Azalea Trammel arrived, they fell in love.

"You look at this little miracle. This is our miracle," NaKia Trammel said. "She's just the culmination of every joy we've ever had in this little seven-pound bundle."

As the Rapps wait for their bundle of joy, they, too, have no regrets about using crowdfunding.

"It's insane. I never thought that this would happen for us. Maybe it's just the pregnancy, but I don't think it is," Stacy Rapp said.

Each parent we spoke with had the same advice: Try everything you can to raise the money you need to have or adopt a child.

Many adoptive parents will get money back via the adoption tax credit, which can come to about $12,000.

The Fertility Center of Las Vegas offers two programs that can provide some eligible families with discounts on both treatments and medications.

Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.